By Eric Heinz
In a Nov. 30 press release, the city of San Clemente announced it will examine its current water rate structure to determine the most fair way to penalize customers who overuse water.
As of Nov. 30, the city announced it had billed customers $921,000 in penalties since it implemented new rates in June and “is in the process of prioritizing water conservation projects to comply with the state’s required application of penalties,” the release stated.
The release also stated the city’s water customers have met the 24 percent water reduction mandate, which compares usage from 2013.
“If continued water reductions are achieved, there may be consideration to potentially lower the penalties or modify the restrictions to water allocations imposed by the Water Conservation Ordinance,” the release stated.
“The city’s tiered rate structure correlated to the increased costs of providing water and water infrastructure as demand increases, a correlation that a Court of Appeal recently found lacking in the city of San Juan Capistrano’s water rate structure,” the release stated. “The City Attorney (Scott Smith of Best, Best & Krieger) confirmed that with this correlation, the city of San Clemente’s water rates satisfy (Prop 218).”
The city allocated $50,000 to conduct a drought-water-rate study, but because of climate factors there may be a new cost-of-service study to review current rates, starting in 2016 and lasting a year. This would include public input opportunities.
Visit the city of San Clemente website at www.san-clemente.org under the “I Am A…” tab and select the “water conservation” link.